Playing a Porpentine game often feels like stepping into a poem, or sitting downstream in a river as strange images float by like beautiful, twisted debris. She's primarily known for her Twine games and interactive fiction, where her distinctive alien worlds are fleshed out in long strings of lyrical text.
In her first 3D game, Bellular Hexatosis, Porpentine exports her prose into a surreal, visual world of sunset seas, where you can explore a city populated by sentient eyes or meet a column of water spiraling into the sky that may or may not be your sister. Whatever she is, your sister has been infected with the titular Bellular Hexatosis, and only you can find the cure.
Like so many of Porpentine's works, the most striking moments in Bellular Hexatosis come from the offhand comments that annotate your journey, and the vague sense of alienation and body horror that permeates its sunset palette. While searching for the antidote, you find yourself floating over "necrosympathetic coral," which you're told evolved symbiotically with the dead bodies that have become tangled in its roots. The coral has become depleted, and the local conclave has vowed to "fight endangerment by increasing deaths on the reef." They ask for volunteers.
The game is a collaboration with Neotenomie, who previously worked with Porpentine on With Those We Love Alive and This World Is Not My Home, "a guided relaxation program for the corporate achiever." Bellular Hexatosis is pay-what-you-want to download, for PC and Mac, or you can play it your browser.
The Offworld Collection, presenting the very best features and essays from Offworld, is finally available to buy directly from Campo Santo for $40. I had the pleasure of designing and illustrating this splendid 250-page hardcover volume, but it’s the excellent writing, edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, that makes it an essential buy. You […]
Zoya Street, curator of Critical Distance, offers slow reflections on the fast-paced world of digital play…
This week, our partnership with Critical Distance brings us reading on parenting via Tomb Raider, the utility of the word ‘gameplay’, and experiences from Nintendo ‘play counselors’ from the 1980s and 90s.
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